Representatives of small and medium-sized travel companies have been urged to put themselves forward to fill the final place on a new board to oversee apprenticeships.

The travel apprenticeship board has been formed to ensure apprenticeships in the industry are “fit for purpose”, following the introduction of new standards in England. The board currently has five members, representing Royal Caribbean, Thomas Cook, STA Travel, Reed & Mackay and Clarity Travel Management, with a final position to be filled by a representative of an SME.

Speaking at a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast last week, Annette Allmark, director of strategic policy at workforce development organisation People 1st, hailed the industry collaboration that led to the decision to take on governance of apprenticeships in the sector.

She said: “The strength of this partnership [through the trailblazer process to create a new standard and structure] has got us to where we are, and with the appointment of these apprenticeship boards, the travel and hospitality industries are really leading the way.

“It is an exciting time, and travel has been brave in taking on this role and embracing the new approach to apprenticeships.”

Mari Harrison, Thomas Cook head of organisational development, talent and resourcing, added: “This is a great opportunity for the industry to work together to make sure the apprenticeship standard and its delivery is the best it can be. It will be a real step forward in professionalising the industry, and will help us retain the best talent.”

A new levy comes into force on April 6, with companies with wage bills of more than £3 million being required to pay the tax. Changes also apply to smaller companies, which are not required to pay the levy.

› To apply for the SME place on the apprenticeship board, go to by April 14.